Excessive Barking in Dogs: Understanding the Reasons and How to Treat It
Barking, howling, growling and whining, the symphony of our furry friends! These are some of the many different ways your dogs express themselves, whether to their canine comrades, their human family, or just because of excitement or fear. Some dogs are even more expressive than others. There are many factors that determine your dog’s reaction, like how familiar they are with sounds, socialization, age, etc, and the result for a frightened dog is commonly excessively loud barks.
If your dog excessively barks, it can become a real problem. It's not only irritating but concerning to both dog parents and neighbors too. Before solving the problem, it's essential to find the root cause of the excessive barking. Closely observe your furbaby throughout the day, and their routine and consider using doggy cams to observe while you’re away too.
It's important to understand the different types of sounds dogs make, then assess sounds based on the environment to solve the issue. With the proper identification of triggers, training techniques can be applied to manage an excessive dog barking promptly and effectively.
Reasons Behind Excessive Barking in Dogs
Dogs bark for many reasons, including attention seeking, boredom, anxiety, fear, excitement, or even to alert their owners of potential danger. Take some time to get to know your dog's barking habits. Does he bark at people passing by or only when you're not around? Does he bark all day or only sometimes? Talking to your veterinarian and getting a full health check is always a good idea to rule out any medical reasons behind the excessive barking.
Bringing your dog inside the house may also reduce the number of triggers that set off barking. By removing the visual or auditory stimuli, you can calm your furry friend down. Some of the common reasons behind excessive barking include:
- Boredom: Dogs left alone for long periods with nothing to do can become bored, and excessive barking is often the result. This is especially common in dogs that are used to having a lot of human interaction and attention.
- Separation Anxiety: Dogs that suffer from separation anxiety may bark excessively when left alone, as they experience intense fear and distress when away from their owners. This barking is often accompanied by other destructive behaviors, such as chewing, digging, or escaping.
- Fear or Anxiety: Dogs that are afraid of specific stimuli, such as loud noises, unfamiliar people or animals, or even certain objects, may bark excessively as a result of their fear or dog anxiety. This barking is often associated with a fear response and can be challenging to reduce.
- Attention Seeking: Dogs that bark excessively in an attempt to get the attention of their owners may be doing so because they crave interaction and engagement. This barking can be very persistent and difficult to ignore, as the dog continues to bark until it gets the attention it wants.
- Territorial Barking: Dogs that bark excessively to defend their territory or protect their owners may do so because they feel threatened or want to warn their owners of potential danger. Territorial barking is often associated with dominant or aggressive behavior and can intimidate others.
Reducing Excessive Barking in Dogs
There are many ways to reduce excessive dog barking, including:
- Redirecting attention: Attention-seeking barking can be reduced by ignoring the barking and only giving attention when the dog is quiet. This can be challenging, but consistent training and patience can help to train the dog to stop barking and only to receive attention when it is quiet.
- Desensitizing to triggers: Fear and dog anxiety-based excessive barking can be reduced by gradually exposing the dog to the stimuli that trigger the barking in a controlled and safe environment. This is called desensitization training and should always be done under the guidance of a professional dog trainer or behaviorist.
- Consistent training and discipline: Territorial barking can be reduced by providing consistent training and discipline to your dog. This may include using commands to control barking, such as "quiet" or "no bark."
- Calming treats: these often contain Hemp or CBD treats and are safe once used as directed. They help with stress and anxiety that does experience daily and are safer than prescription meds.
Barking is one of the most common ways for our furry friends to express themselves, but it can become a challenge for pet owners when it becomes excessive. Just like us, dogs have unique personalities and communication styles. But don't worry; there are steps you can take to help your furry pal find their bark-free zone! Your dog's bark is a window into their world and their way of telling you what's on their mind. Maybe they're feeling scared or uncomfortable or want to say hello to their favorite person passing by. As pet parents, we must listen and help our pups feel heard and understood.
Reducing Your Dog's Vocal Outbursts
Sometimes, dog’s park excessively because of attention. A natural way of reducing these outburst can be physical stimulation by taking them outdtoors to exercise or using indoor toys to keep them busy. Mental stimulation is also important. Try talking to your dogs more and providing them with interactive toys that nurtures them. Instead of loud squeaky toys, a chew toy or puzzle can help with stress and anxiety.
Training Your Dog to Communicate
Training your dog to communicate differently is a wonderful way to reduce barking. For example, if your dog barks to go outside, teach them to jingle a bell at the door instead. It's a fun, positive way for them to get your attention and let you know they need to go potty. Who knows, they might even enjoy ringing the bell as much as you enjoy hearing it!
Unleash the Calming Power of Treats
If your furry friend barks at specific things, gradually expose them to the trigger positively. Start with the trigger at a distance that won't make them bark. Show your love by showering them with yummy treats for keeping eye contact and being a good boy/girl. Move the trigger closer (just a few inches or feet to start) and keep the treats coming. If your pup starts barking, you've gotten too close too soon.
When passing by other dogs on walks, arm yourself with the ultimate distraction - high-value treats. Continuously offer treats as you briskly walk by the other dog, and once there's a safe distance, stop and reward your pup for staying calm.
Unlocking the secret to a peaceful and harmonious relationship with your furry friend starts with understanding what's behind their barking. By identifying the root cause, you can adjust your lifestyle and teach your puppy new, more appropriate communication methods. With patience and some fun training, you and your dog can enjoy a quiet and content life together.